Anger at library snack bar closure

.Mansfield Library

.Mansfield Library

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A popular community cafe at Mansfield Library is to be closed and replaced with vending machines after the catering company that runs it cancelled their contract.

The Pantry, located on the top floor of the town’s West Gate library, will close in three weeks after operators Churchill Catering decided not to carry on with the lease - two years after opening at the newly-refurbished library.

But angry library users contacted Chad after they were told that Nottinghamshire County Council now planned to replace the cafe with vending machines.

The mezzanine snack bar is popular with library users and groups, and is used by many older residents as a place to meet and chat.

Library user David Alton said: “I was very disappointed when I heard this news and I really can’t understand the logic behind this decision.

“I think far fewer people will use it if they have to get a drink from a vending machine. I think if a bit more effort had been put into it then it would have been a lot more profitable.”

Customer Chris Johnson added: “I use the cafe a lot as it’s a really nice place to go and get a coffee when I’m using the library.

“It’s really popular with a lot of the older people who use the library because it’s nice and relaxed, and a lot of community groups go there to meet as well.”

It is understood that two members of staff will lose their jobs with the closure.

Nobody from Churchill Catering was available to comment on the closure.

Linda Turner, team manager for libraries at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “In March Churchill Catering gave us notice that they wanted to pull out. At that stage, we agreed with them to continue operating while we considered the best way ahead to minimise disruption. We have now agreed that they will finish their contract at the end of September.

“After that, we will be offering a hot drinks vending machine and another vending machine which provides cold drinks and snacks so we can continue to offer a variety of refreshments to customers.

“We are disappointed with what has happened but we have kept staff and customers informed of developments and remain committed to providing a quality customer experience at Mansfield Library.”